15 Facts about gorilla habituation experience in Bwindi
Gorilla habituation in Bwindi Impenetrable National park gets you closer to semi-habituated mountain gorillas. Gorilla habituation is the process of getting wild mountain gorillas used to human presence without altering their nature.
In Uganda, gorilla habituation is done in the southern sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park where there is the Rushaga gorilla trekking area and Nkuringo area. In the past, gorilla trekking permits were sold according to family but currently, they are sold according to the area.
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Uganda Wildlife Authority adopted this program of selling gorilla trekking permits according to the area for quicker administrative reasons of the vast Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Even people used to request gorilla families in the northern part of Bwindi, which left the ones in the southern part under-visited. These mountain gorillas had started turning back to their wild behavior which required re-habituation that is expensive and time-wasting.
The experience of gorilla habituation starts early morning when you escort a group of researchers and habituators. Together with the ranger guides, you walk into the forest to meet the de-nesting mountain gorillas and follow them all the way to their feeding place. You need to follow the instructions given by the rangers so that you are not lost in the wilderness or agitate the very sensitive mountain gorillas.
What Are The Requirements For Gorilla Habituation In Uganda
A gorilla habituation permit
You need to reserve a gorilla habituation permit in advance so that you are allowed to have access to the mountain gorillas. Only a maximum of 4 people are allowed to be with the mountain gorillas so with this limited number advance booking is required.
Have the date when you wish to do gorilla habituation and the number of people you hope to travel with.
When you send us an enquiry, or safari consultant gets back to you after checking availability from the Uganda wildlife Authority list. In case there is space, we advise you to purchase yours as soon as possible. This is because they are limited yet demand is high and first come first served basis is used to reserve these gorilla habituation permits.
Book Accommodation for Gorilla habituation
Reserving accommodation closer to the area where your gorilla habituation is to take place is helpful. You do not have to wake up very early to drive through the dark way which may have huddles like blocking tree trunks, slippery road surfaces, and others.
Some of the accommodations in southern Bwindi Impenetrable National park include clouds lodge, Gorilla safari camp, Nkuiringo Gorilla safari Camp
Reserve Transport to gorilla Habituation Destination
Everybody needs to overnight in the location where they are to do gorilla habituation so that you can reach the briefing point in time. You need to hire the right transport means to the accommodations in these locations.
In case it’s road transport, a professional driver guide is required in case you are not doing self-drive. The car must be in good condition preferably 4×4 wheeler because the roads here are not in good condition and it worsens in the severe rainy seasons.
What Is the Cost Of Gorilla Habituation In Uganda
Each gorilla habituation permits cost $1500 per person in Uganda. This price is composed of :
Ranger guide fee
Every ranger trek into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park requires an escorting ranger guide. These offer protection to the tourists and the forest dwellers. They provide information about the gorillas and their traits because Sometimes they keep observing and noting down information about the gorilla family under habituation.
To encourage them continue with the conservation of the mountain gorillas and do more research about them, they are paid their salaries. This is part of the money you pay for the gorilla habituation permit
Research on the Mountain Gorillas
During research, a number of activities take place so there is need for funding. Some of the money used to support this timely research is got from the sell of Gorilla habituation permits.
Gorilla Medication support
The life of the mountain gorillas depends on the forest to survive but during some extreme health conditions like the gorillas trapped in snares, gorilla doctors may come to rescue. The medicine used to administer this treatment is bought using the collection from the sale of gorilla permits.
Security Of the Mountain Gorillas and the People
To keep law and order, other Uganda security agencies are included in the conservation of the mountain gorilla program. These work with the ranger guides in case they need extra backup.. keeping law and order so that tourists have a great gorilla habituation experience.
Support local community
A portion of the money from gorilla habituation and other activities in the park is given to the local community to support the running of their projects like health facilities, water sources, road maintenance and others.
How Difficult Is Gorilla Habituation experience in Uganda
Gorilla habituation happens in a volcanic topography so expect to hike the slopes to get to the mountain gorillas at times. The mountain gorillas are free to move in the forest in search of food that can support them through day and night.
You can hire a porter to carry your belonging at a fair price so that you have free movement in the forest. Request for a walking stick that can give you extra support in case you need it.
The way is soggy and slippery at time so wear the right safari boots that will see you through this adventure.
At times the mountain gorillas may go into hiding because they are still not used to human presence so be patient and listen carefully to the instructions given by the ranger guides, during gorilla habituation, the habituating team is very careful with every step so as not to agitate the mountain gorillas. They are shy and sensitive primates.
How aggressive are the Mountain Gorillas during Habituation
Mountain gorillas are some of the most serene primates despite their sheer size and scary outlook. These mountain gorillas have huge bodies covered in darkness all over. They look with sunken brown eyes and walk by knuckle walk.
When angry, they thump their chests, hoot, walk on one leg, and much more signs of anger. They rarely fight humans. This has so far never happened in the history of gorilla habituation in Uganda. the gorillas are not aggressive.
Is Gorilla habituation Safe In Uganda
The areas where mountain gorillas survive in Uganda are very safe because rangers are very alert and keen about unfamiliar occurrences in the forest. They coordinate with neighboring rangers in Volcanoes National Park too and ranger guides. The involvement of other Uganda security organs in the security of this area makes it safe for gorilla trekking but you have to mind personal security too.
Ensure you wear the right gorilla trekking gear like tracking boots, long trousers, and shirt, insect repellants garden gloves to protect you from biting nettles and so much more.
Do not count large sums of money in public that would attract bad people like thieves.
Eating from undesignated places can cause you food poisoning so try to avoid things like that.
Traveling with precious items that you cannot monitor all the time is very unsafe so try and leave them at home or declare them to the lodge manager so that they are kept safe in case your lodge has one.
Never enter the forest or stay away from the rest of the group without an escorting guide. This is to prevent chances of getting lost in the forest or an attack from other unhabituated forest dwellers.
When Is The Best Time For Gorilla Habituation In Uganda
All year you can do gorilla habituation but most people prefer booking in the dry seasons that is June to September and December to January. This season the forest receives less humid conditions and the sunray penetration is stronger causing the ground to get drier.
Although rains in these areas are received at any time without warning, these seasons receive fewer spots of rain and are not so intense but you still need to carry rainproof gear like a raincoat or poncho. Even the backpack that carries your gorilla trekking gear must be rainproof just in case it rains.
The low season that is ( March to May and November) usually has fewer tourists visiting so you may have the chance to be the only one going for gorilla habituation. Even the low season at times attracts discounted prices from service providers like driver guides, vehicle hire, accommodation, and others. The money you save off this trip you can use to pay for other activities like chimpanzee trekking, game drives, launch cruise, birding, and others.
What To Pack For Gorilla habituation in Uganda
- Safari long trousers and long-sleeved shirts in colors that cannot easily show dirt like tan.
- A camera store memories of gorilla habituation experience in Uganda
- Waterproof gear like a raincoat or poncho protects you from getting wet when it severely rains.
- A backpack to carry with your gorilla habituation gear so that they do not scatter in the forest or get wet when it rains.
- Garden gloves to put on in case you need to grasp a tighter grip in the forest when you slide or during the hike.
- Insect repellant to keep away biting insects in the wilderness that would cause you skin irritation.
- Pajamas to put on when going to be
- Extra fully charged batteries to exchange with when one runs low so that you do not miss any moments with the mountain gorillas.
- A travel adopter and charger just in case you need to recharge your gadgets.
- A part of Binoculars to use in case you need to get clearer visibility of far-ranging items.
- Bug spray in case your room is infested with them
- First aid kit to use in case you need some emergency assistance.
- Flip flops for wearing after a long day wearing tracking boots.
- At least two pairs of stockings to wear and warm yourself when it’s extremely cold and another to tack in your clothes and protect your body from creepers.
- Warmers like a sweater protects your body from getting chilled in the early morning and late afternoon. This area gets so cold.
Rules Of Gorilla Habituation In Uganda
Surrounding the mountain gorillas during gorilla habituation may cause them to feel agitated.
Spitting on the vegetation contaminates their food which may cause them to catch a humanly contiguous infection.
Only 4 people are allowed to do gorilla habituation per trek. This is to avoid overcrowding the forest and overwhelming the mountain gorillas under habituation.
Littering in the forest is forbidden because this alters the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas feed.
Provoking the mountain gorillas is forbidden because they can get agitated by your presence. They are still having wild behavior.
Eating or smoking before the mountain gorillas are forbidden to avoid the chances of them grabbing it from you. The mountain gorillas must look for their own food and not depend on the human provision.
The use of flash photography during gorilla habituation may scare the mountain gorillas and send them into hiding. The camera must be soundproof too.
Only children aged 15 and above are allowed to do gorilla habituation. This is because some patience is required before getting to locate the mountain gorillas. A child below this age may not withstand this time and the forest conditions.
In case you wish to defecate, the ranger guides you to dig a hole for you at least 30 cm deep and bury everything well beyond recognition. This is to avoid exhuming anything even with other forest dwellers.
Only one hour is allowed in the presence of the mountain gorillas when you locate them.
Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas because they are wild animals that must not get into contact with humans or you to them.
Wearing a clean mask is a must for mountain gorillas when you locate them. this was adopted after the Covid-19 time when they were discovered to be highly susceptible to this infection.
Contact us for more information.